I would think the training is sufficient to cause strength adaptation regardless of NSAID use.
That's pretty much what I'm wondering about: does NSAID use have a negative effect on muscle regeneration (either for strength or for hypertrophy), and if so, is it significant? I'm not thinking so much about prescription use, but about someone who takes a couple of aspirin or Advil to help with a particularly nasty case of DOMS, for example. Might such a person be unwittingly reducing their strength and size gains, and if so, by how much? In essence, what is the trade-off between less pain and slower advances in training? If there are negative effects of NSAIDs, can they be avoided by using non-NSAIDs such as acetaminophen?
I've run across a couple of articles that present some interesting info. In one study, use of both acetaminophen and ibuprofen had a negative
effect in the short-term, but another study by the same researches showed a positive
effect in the long term. The problem is that the two groups weren't the same age, so it's hard to draw real comparisons between the two. As one article noted:
An elderly muscle may respond very differently than a young muscle. We can't assume that the [positive] results will apply to younger people in their twenties, thirties and forties.
Finally, some elderly people may suffer from age-related aches and pains. The pain killers may have allowed them to train harder during each workout, which could have contributed to the extra gains in muscle size and strength.
This article presents the following "Bottom Line":
The extent to which the prolonged use of pain killers affects muscle growth over a period of several weeks or months is open to debate. However, there is mounting evidence that high doses may extinguish the fire that sparks muscle growth after exercise.
While the occasional use of pain killers in moderate amounts isn't likely to suppress your gains completely, they're certainly not something you should use too often. Large doses taken on a regular basis could easily add up to a negative impact on muscle growth in the long run.
The full article is at http://www.thefactsa...painkillers.htm
; I'd be interested in what the other folks here think of it.